Tatau: Samoan Tattoo, New Zealand Art, Global Culture

Photographs Mark Adams
Book Authors
Sean Mallon, Peter Brunt and Nicholas Thomas
Rights Available World excl. North America & NZ 

When Tatau was first published in 2010, Mark Adams’ renowned images documenting a great Polynesian art tradition were a revelation. It told the story of the late Sulu’ape Paulo II, the pre-eminent figure of modern Samoan tattooing. A brilliantly innovative and often controversial man, he saw tatau as an art of international importance. Tatau documented his practice, and that of other tufuga ta tatau (tattoo artists), in the contexts of Polynesian tattooing, Samoan migrant communities and New Zealand art.

Long out-of-print, this revised and extended new edition, with its handsome large format and texts by distinguished scholars, makes a cultural treasure available once more.

About the Author
Mark Adams
is one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s foremost documentary photographers. His work has been extensively exhibited in Aotearoa, Australia, South Africa and Europe and at Brazil’s São Paulo biennale.

Sean Mallon is of Samoan (Iva and Mulivai, Safata) and Irish (Belfast) descent. He is Senior Curator Pacific Cultures at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, where he specialises in the social and cultural history of Pacific peoples in Aotearoa.

Peter Brunt is of Samoan and English descent, with ancestral connections to Lano, Vaiala and Bedfordshire. He is Associate Professor of Art History at Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington, where he teaches and researches the visual arts of the Pacific.

Nicholas Thomas is Professor of Historical Anthropology and Director of the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Cambridge. His most recent book is Voyagers: the settlement of the Pacific (2020).


Te Papa Press


290 x 290mm


Non Fiction

Science & Nature

Publication Date
October 2020

Rights Available:
Worldwide, except North America and New Zealand

Rights Agents:


Te Papa Press

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